AbstractAs tools, techniques, and technologies expand design practice, there is likewise an innovation in design teaching shifting technology from a means of production and representation to a means of discovery and development. This has implications on studio culture and design pedagogy. Expanding the skills based notion of digital design from know-how, or know-how-to-do, toward know-for, or knowledge-for-action, forms a synthetic relationship between the skills necessary for action and the developing motivations of a young designer. This shifts digital design pedagogy to a medium of active inquiry through play and precision. As digital tools and infrastructure are now ubiquitous in most schools, including the increasing digital material exchange enabled through laser cutters, CNC routers, and rapid prototyping, this topic node presents research papers that engage technology not simply as tools to be taught, but as cognitive technologies which motivate and structure a design students knowledge, both tacit and explicit, in developing a digital and material, ecological and social synthetic environment. Digital fabrication, the Building Information Model, and parametric modeling have currency in architectural education today yet, beyond the instrumentality of teaching the tool, seldom is it questioned what the deeper motivations these technologies suggest. Each of these tools in their own way form a synthesis between representational artifacts and the technological impact on process weaving a wider web of materials, collaboration among peers and consultants, and engagement of the environment that the products of design are situated in.If it is true that this synthetic environment enabled by tools, techniques, and technologies moves from a representational model to a process model of design, the engagement of these tools in the design process is of critical importance in design education. What is the relationship between representation, simulation, and physical material in a digitally mediated design education? At the core of synthetic pedagogies is an underlying principle to form relationships of teaching architecture through digital tools, rather than simply teaching the tools themselves. What principles are taught through teaching with these tools, and furthermore, what new principles might these tools develop?